First touchdown made Vikings believe they could win

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At halftime of Sunday’s game against the Broncos, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer didn’t rant and rave. He didn’t throw things. He didn’t deliver a fiery speech.

As explained by phone to PFT after Minnesota’s improbable come-from-behind victory by Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, Zimmer simply told the team: “That’s not us. That’s not good enough. But we still have 30 minutes left. We can go fight and see what happens.”

Rudolph said that the players recognized the importance of doing whatever they could in the final two quarters to get their eighth win in Week 11, especially with a bye looming.

“It was huge to get to 8-3 at the bye,” Rudolph said. “It was so big to fight and not give up if we wanted to keep pace with the other teams in the NFC.”

Rudolph said that the desire to keep fighting became confidence that the Vikings could win once they took the opening kickoff of the second half and converted it into a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Even after the Broncos added a field goal, Rudolph said that the Vikings realized that they were only two possessions from tying the game.

While the failed two-point conversion after their next touchdown kept the margin at 10 (and thus at two scores), the Vikings were rolling, using an up-tempo pace led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, who forgot about a rough first half and engineered the team’s biggest comeback since October 4, 1992, when the Vikings overcame a 20-0 fourth-quarter deficit against the Bears — sparked by a Jim Harbaugh audible that led to a pick-six and caused coach Mike Ditka blowing a gasket.

On Snday, the game-winning touchdown came on a 32-yard catch-and-run by Rudolph, capped via a rare (for him) walk-in score. Rudolph said that they’d run the specific play multiple times during the week, and that he doesn’t recall the ball ever being thrown to him.

Thrown to him it was in that moment, and combined with Minnesota’s bend-but-don’t-break defensive effort on the last drive (which easily could have resulted in a loss), the Vikings indeed enter the bye with an 8-3 record, a 1.5-game lead for the sixth wild-card spot, and only a one-game deficit at the top of the NFC North.

26 responses to “First touchdown made Vikings believe they could win

  1. Viking got a big come back win. Better have learned a lesson from it .. they would have been buried by another team without a qb in his 2nd nfl game. Give them credit for the win but they got very lucky in that one.

  2. inexcusable 1st half. played like they can, and should’ve, in the 2nd half. Football is a game of adjustments, the Vikings made them, good win. Get rested for the ‘Hawks, and be ready at the start this time.

  3. “and only a one-game deficit at the top of the NFC North.”

    Quoted for the benefit of our mathematically challenged friends to the east.

  4. Missing our best WR, our run stopping NT, our starting RG, and the usual Rhodes and Waynes fiasco, that was a solid comeback win. The first half was about as ugly of a game I’ve seen of the Vikings (certainly not GB full game ugliness against the Chargers), but ugly nonetheless. Hope that opened up their eyes because they won’t beat Seattle playing like that.

  5. Arod; It was that ugly … GB played theirs away from home, lucky you played Denver at home. On the road, it would have been a loss and just as ugly. You are correct though, play anywhere near that at Seattle and you’ll get hammered.

  6. I think I’d like to see that hurry up offense a little bit more. The offense just clicks when it doesn’t think as much, and it just plays ball. Cousins has looked very good all season when they go up tempo. And, you simply have to take what’s working. They’re gonna stop Cook? Ok. But you clearly can’t stop everybody.

  7. It’s unreasonable to blame the referees for anything, a win or a loss. Total and complete accuracy in officiating is a pipe dream. If you get anything close to an 85% accuracy rate, you’re doing great. That’s my point: The good and the bad of it happens to ALL teams. It all balances out, if not during a game then certainly over the course of a season. The Vikings evidently were recipients of the long end of the stick this time, to their good fortune. What I find head-shakingly idiotic is some Viking fans actually believing, they believe, the NFL conspires with the officials to give the Packers the best calls.

  8. The NFL conspires with officials to give the Packers the advantage. They want Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs.

  9. That Diggs touchdown made me jump out of my chair, helluva throw by Cousins.
    Our offense is winning games, not just hanging on or trying not to royally screw up or as Poder once famously said ‘just out there trying not to lose the game’ It’s crazy.

    The biggest problem is they play down to their competition on defense. Cousins saved them yesterday, we’ll see if he can get a win on the road in primetime. Don’t know what his record is… currently it’s 8-3, and that’s all matters.

  10. 7 possessions in the 2nd half all led to points against the #4 defense in the NFL. Clearly the Vikings are capable of winning against anyone, it just seems to be getting out of their own way. I would expect the Vikings to go to hurry-up on the opening drive against Seattle.

  11. Hey, Vikes fans, I posted last week the Broncos would come in and “steal” one from you guys at home. Then, when I saw the game was 20 to zero I was laughing so hard, because once again, Chillyball was gonna be correct.

    I’ll give it to your team for putting its pants on just in the nick of time. Good job this week.

  12. Luckily we have the best QB in the NFC to be able to do what hadn’t been done in the past 99 tries….

  13. stellarperformance says:
    November 18, 2019 at 11:00 am
    It’s unreasonable to blame the referees for anything, a win or a loss. Total and complete accuracy in officiating is a pipe dream. If you get anything close to an 85% accuracy rate, you’re doing great. That’s my point: The good and the bad of it happens to ALL teams. It all balances out, if not during a game then certainly over the course of a season. The Vikings evidently were recipients of the long end of the stick this time, to their good fortune. What I find head-shakingly idiotic is some Viking fans actually believing, they believe, the NFL conspires with the officials to give the Packers the best calls.
    ———————————

    Enough with projecting your guilt and bogus division lead on to Viking fans. The Bears and Lions fans have seen the Lambeau refs manipulate games as well. It’s been that way ever since Favre took over. If anything the Lions have been hosed more than anyone. The entire country got to watch it first hand. Blatantly handing the Packers a win doesn’t always happen like that. It’s usually keeping the Packers in games, get back into games. Hamstring the other team so the Packers can get the ball back. Extending drives. Don’t call holding ever so Erin has all day. Call here call there. Everyone knows it. It’s not new.

  14. I was at the game and couldn’t tell, but geez were the receivers getting open on play action in the second half. Maybe it was the up tempo thing implemented in the second half, but it makes me wonder why they weren’t open in the first half.

    For what its worth, all in all, the Pack likely doesn’t get the benefit of bad calls more than any other team — the difference does seem to be that the Pack gets the benefit of those bad calls in more crucial game-influencing situations so it is noticed more and gives MN fans something to use to tweak those out west. And when it appears to get under the skin of the sandblasting one given the reaction, apparently all the better.

  15. Liberalsruineverything says:
    November 18, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Enough with projecting your guilt and bogus division lead on to Viking fans. The Bears and Lions fans have seen the Lambeau refs manipulate games as well. It’s been that way ever since Favre took over. If anything the Lions have been hosed more than anyone. The entire country got to watch it first hand. Blatantly handing the Packers a win doesn’t always happen like that. It’s usually keeping the Packers in games, get back into games. Hamstring the other team so the Packers can get the ball back. Extending drives. Don’t call holding ever so Erin has all day. Call here call there. Everyone knows it. It’s not new.
    ////////////
    That is about as well stated as it could be. The whole world witnessed the Lions handily beat the Packers in Green Bay but then the refs give the Packers the win.
    I’m trying to imagine the feeling of actually getting beat and then the refs step in and save my team. Well I’ve been a fan for 45 years and haven’t seen it so perhaps I should ask a Packers fan.

  16. Denver started out geeat but thise WR werent going to be making those catches all game… they also got too cute in situations like a end around to the TE on 3rd and 1, I think the FB was hurt at that point but there several ways to get a better run to the outside off. That INT going into half was a huge swing of momentum and thats a dangerous thing. The defense didnt play as good im the second half Congrats on the win.

  17. An awesome display of overcoming any obstacle in order to achieve victory. In the end, it was a class win, by a class team. Also what stands out is how Vikes did it without ANY ref help. Something GB can’t say.

  18. Cousins led them to 4 2nd half TD’s against a top 5 defense. They should go no huddle the rest of the season all game every game. Like the Bills in their heyday.

  19. Why do the Vikings have a harder time getting over the Packers Lions game, than Lions fans?

    If the Chiefs get hosed on the WR being called OB for a clock stop when he was no where near but the stopped clock anyway, and the Chargers come back to win would Minn fans, be crying about it over a month later?

    Do they complain that the Buccs were cost a game vs Tennesee cuz of whistle blowing the play dead on what was suppose to be the go ahead TD? Not at all, or when Tennesee was likely offsides vs. KC on that Block FG but no ones talking about ALL THE CALLS going the TITANS way… Why? Certain fans aren’t obsessed with the Titans…

    The officiating is bad and will NEVER be perfect, and I agree it is frustrating as hell, but it is NFL wide, and weekly calls are missed or, nitpicky, but its not just an isolated incident.

    So get over it.

  20. Gotta laugh at packer fans saying people shouldn’t criticize officials. The tears finally dried on their xxxl packer jerseys from their non stop crying about Barr’s legal hit on Aaron.

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